On this day, 30 years ago, Kraftwerk released their remix album The Mix. It was released on 11 June 1991 and featured re-recorded and, in some cases, re-arranged versions of a selection of songs which were released on their previous albums.
Ralf Hütter stated in interviews that he regarded The Mix as a type of live album, as it captured the results of the band's continual digital improvisations in their Kling Klang studio. The band had made a return to the stage in 1990, after a nine-year hiatus from touring, and since then the band's live setlist has used arrangements drawn from The Mix rather than the original recordings. As the band didn't want to release a traditional "Greatest Hits" or "Best of" collection they opted for 'The Mix'.
At the time, the band were in the process of reconfiguring their Kling Klang studio from analog to digital recording technology; integrating MIDI into their setup and creating sound archives from their original master tapes that were stored onto computers. This proved to be an ongoing task, as new upgrades and equipment were continually made available in the years following the album project. Despite no new, original recorded material or live tours outside of Europe, Ralf Hütter did not want Kraftwerk to appear defunct to the public.
The album's production is credited to Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Fritz Hilpert, the latter of whom had replaced percussionist and stage set designer Wolfgang Flür after Flür left the group in 1987. Karl Bartos also left the band in 1991 and was replaced by Fernando Abrantes. Bartos claimed in later interviews that much of his programming work was still featured on The Mix, uncredited.
The album received rather mixed reception on its release. Although many music magazines and citric rated the album from good to very good, many fans were disappointed at the lack of new compositions and, moreover, the production values of the re-recorded tracks did not strike many listeners as particularly cutting edge, something which Kraftwerk had previously been renowned for. The Mix was created entirely digitally, albeit during a period when the technology had yet to reach its maturity, and thus featured a sound which many listeners tend to find somewhat "sterile" compared to the analogue electronics employed on most of Kraftwerk's previous recordings of these songs. Nevertheless, The Mix placed first in The Wire's year-end poll, the first time the magazine—previously known for its focus on jazz—opened up an all-genre category.
The album has been released in both an English and German sung version and on various different formats like double 12" vinyl, Cassette and CD and was officially re-released in 2009.
The Mix - Tracklist
1. The Robots / Die Roboter 8:56
2. Computer Love / Computerliebe 6:35
3. Pocket Calculator / Taschenrechner 4:32
4. Dentaku / Calculator 3:27
5. Autobahn 9:27
6. Radioactivity / Radioaktivität 6:53
7. Trans-Europe Express 3:20
8. Abzug 2:18
9. Metal on Metal / Metall auf Metall 4:58
10.Home Computer / Heimcomputer") 8:02
11.Music Non Stop / Musik Non-Stop 6:38